Warning: This post contains an image which some might find disturbing.
A hunter in Idaho set out to “harvest” a mountain lion which had attacked a dog on a landowner’s property on December 30, and returned with a nightmare.
Late last week, the state’s Fish and Game department released a photo of the lion, a juvenile male.
The photo follows this quote from the department describing the lion:
“The mountain lion had an unusual deformity – fully-formed teeth and what appears to be small whiskers were growing out of hard fur-covered tissue on the left side of the animal’s forehead.”
Here it is:
Not surprisingly, it’s become something of an internet sensation over the past weekend.
Idaho Fish and Game say they cannot “definitively explain” what caused the abnormality.
“Biologists from the southeast region of Idaho Fish and Game have never seen anything like this particular deformity before.”
There are two explanations most likely. One, the teeth and whiskers are the remains of a conjoined twin that died in the mother’s womb and was ingested by the surviving foetus.
The other is that it is a form of tumour known as a “teratoma tumor”.
“These kinds of tumors are composed of tissue from which teeth, hair, and even fingers and toes can develop,” it said.
Idaho Fish and Game also clarified the details about the mountain lion’s death on the weekend.
They updated their release on the weekend to add that the lion was harvested legally and the hunter had all the correct qualifications and licence for the job.
They said mountain lions were “common in Idaho and a native game species”.
“Only one mountain lion can be harvested by a hunter in any given year.”
The farmer, whose dog was attacked, said he called the hunt because he feared the lion would attack again. He said his dog suffered some puncture wounds but was recovering well.